Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hurry, Hurry...Two Manuscript Critiques...

Once a month Marcia Hoehne gives away TWO manuscripts critiques. She'll  critique the first 1000 words of a children's magazine story, chapter book, mid-grade novel, or YA novel.  (Fiction only, no picture books, easy readers, or  poetry.)  I was lucky enough to win one of these critiques last month!  Marcia has authored numerous books and is a writing instructor....You have a until Sunday, October 31st to hop over to her blog and throw your name in the ring...

I submitted the first three chapters of a chapter book manuscript called BEG, BORROW, AND EARN. 

Pitch: David likes to buy stuff, even when he can’t afford it; the trouble is he’s reached the point where he can’t borrow anymore money from his family or friends.
A Snippet:
“Can I get new sneakers?” David asked.
“You can wear the ones you have until the end of the summer. We’ll get you a new pair, right before school starts,” Mom said.
“Cool!” David’s voice went squeaky. “I know what kind I want. I want a pair of black and white Ninja Heelys.”
Mom was reading the label on a box of Cap’n Crunch . She looked over the top of her glasses . “I can’t see the point in spending sixty dollars on a pair of sneakers that turn into roller skates when you already have roller blades.”
“But, Mom, they’re wicked cool! I have to have them or everyone’ll think I’m a loser.”

Things I learned:
1. She liked my dialogue and said she would read on.  (smile)
2. Had a sense of talking heads at the beginning...I should insert more setting right away, so you know the setting....(It takes 4 sentences to figure out where the characters are.)
3. Liked my language level. (smile)
4. Keep my math/human ratios simple or they will confuse the readers...(Grandma and Pappa give David $8 for his birthday and Uncle Ken gives him $8.  The way I worded it was confusing to the reader...)
5. Don't use too many brand names... (I'm not sure about this one...David is really into that kind of stuff...it's part of him...I'll have to investigate this issue.)
6. My second chapter doesn't have anything really funny or a big action in it.  Marcia thought I should add something humorous to it. 
Marcia gave me some great pointers.  I hope that you hop over and meet her, she is one smart lady!
Have you submitted anything lately?


  1. It's great to get feedback!


  2. feedback like that is invaluable.
    (I liked the dialogue too!)

  3. GREAT feedback! And wow. That's so generous of her! I love it when authors pay it forward. :)

  4. Wow, looks like you got really good feedback!! I love the dialogue too, it's great.

  5. Awwww yay for Marcia Hoehne's very helpful feedback!! And thanks for sharing a snippet here of you sweet and fab MS!!!! I love the title!! It's strange about product naming - I've had conflicting advice on this too!!

    Take care

  6. Wow. What amazing feedback! Well done, you.

    I recently sent a womens flash fiction piece for critique and the feedback confirmed what I suspected - my heart isn't in womens fiction. LOL. Seriously, critiques are an invaluable tool for writers and they should be used as often as the bank balance allows.

  7. It's so good to get feedback, especially when it's from someone who knows their stuff. Hooray for you!

  8. Thanks for the heads up. I'll go over and check her out. Congrats on your critique.

  9. I wanted to keep reading the story! How wonderful to get expert advice - for free!!! :)

    When I was in my mid-twenties I submitted a story to a few magazines. I received rejection letters from all of them. You inspire me to try again. Hmmmm....

    Happy Wednesday Sharon!
    xo Catherine

  10. What a great opportunity for you! I love your kid's voice... very authentic. I personally don't have a problem with brand names. I had some in my book and I was told by early critiquers that I shouldn't have them. But when I talked with others, including my editor, they all said it was a great way to get across a very specific point in very few words. And if that kind of naming brands in important to your character, keep them!

  11. hi miss sharon! you got some good advice for your story. im thinking cause of his age and how us kids just gotta have brand name stuff cause everyone else does and your real nerdy if you dont you gotta use it in your story.
    ...hugs from lenny

  12. Yes, good feedback helps so much! (You have given me wonderful feedback, too!:)
    I entered her contest!

  13. I'm so glad you got the critique, that is very exciting. Every time I put my work out there I learn something new which is the best way to grow as a writer. What is a Ninja Heely? I love that!

  14. Amazing feedback! I'm about to hit the sheets (of paper!!) and get to revising!! As soon as I'm done I'll be looking for awesome critiques!

  15. Fabulous feedback! That's awesome! :) I'll have to check out her site :)

  16. Hi Sharon,
    It was very good to get such valuable feedback. I'm very pleased you got this opportunity to get your story critiqued.
    Personally, I don't submit my writing. First of all, I have no confidence and wouldn't want to subject anybody to my surreal 'grammar anarchy' rubbish :-)
    Have a lovely day.
    With respect, Gary.

  17. I loved Marcia's critique when I won one, also. It's so generous of her to give two critiques away each month!

  18. It sounds like she gave you some really good suggestions plus some good comments about your strengths. Good for you!

  19. I liked the dialogue, too! It really worked.

    It's so helpful to get an outside opinion sometimes. It's hard to be objective about our own work!

  20. that's some awesome feedback! Thanks for letting us know about this.

  21. Sounds like some great advice. Thanks for sharing! I'd love to hear what you find out on the brand thing. So interesting. :)

  22. That sounds darn impressive to me, mostly smiles from your side. To answer your question, I recently submitted a fuzzy mouse under the fridge!

  23. Great feedback! I love when I get specific comments. It makes it easier to revise!

  24. That's really valuable feedback, Sharon -- especially about setting, which we could all use a reminder about.

    Seems like you're quite a student, as well as an incredible teacher!

  25. Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for the tips. I've submitted a story to my mentor. I'm waiting for his reply.
    Happy Halloween!

  26. Awesome link... and congats on the feedback.

  27. Thanks for sharing Marcia's critique of your MS, Sharon! One of the points you brought up gave me a wonderful insight into how I can change the opening of my MS to make it stronger :)!